Elderly Jackson woman receives help from WLBT viewers - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Elderly Jackson woman receives help from WLBT viewers

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By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - WLBT first reported on a 93-year-old Jackson woman who was living in a house that was literally falling in around her in late October.  Our viewers responded.  Saturday volunteers started tearing apart the home in order to rebuild it.

"I need some help from somebody," said Jessie Donaldson on October 25th.  That was when WLBT cameras captured ceilings that had fallen in, floors that were sinking and plumbing that hardly worked.

"We saw the news story on WLBT and my wife and I talked that night.  I knew we could help, but to stand beside and not do anything that's not what God calls us to do at all," said  Shanehan Westphal.  He contacted Donaldson's family.  Saturday Westphal and 20 other volunteers, mostly friends from Pinelake Church, went to work.

"There were holes.  There was mold.  There was mildew.  We're exposing all the studs on the inside of the home. We're taking all the ceiling out, walls out and flooring out," said Donaldson.

Wheel barrels full of debris quickly filled a dumpster.  Within six hours the entire interior was stripped.

"It's amazing," said Donaldson's grandson-in-law Mark Hardy.  "I was here working and I can't really believe how much we've done.  We've really gutted the whole house in one day."

There is still much work to be done.  The foundation problems need to be fixed along with the plumbing and roof.  Westphal plans to see the project through completion.  Ms. Donaldson is living with family until her new home is ready to move in. 

"Oh, I'm glad. I'm so glad," said Donaldson.

 If you want to help, contact Mark Hardy at (601) 955-5524.

©2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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